Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Where'd it go?

Well the Tinker Board seems to be suffering from a serious case of premature release. The lack of support has caught Asus out and I hear that very few people have managed to get their boards up and running.
The only supplier in Europe I know of has now withdrawn it from their catalogue.

I do hope that does not sink the chances of this very promising board, I will keep my eyes open for it

Book news....
not had any for some time have we, vurrentl y 825 pages, it was upp to 900 but I edited it down a bit. Its coming to an end (again), a couple of projects have proven to be harder to document than I expected, and I had to cut the scope of them down quite a bit but its coming

I'm due to hand over at the end of Feb, I don't think there's a real chance of that, which might annoy the publisher who's been incredibly support over my delays but I am pushing my luck now. But I do think it will be done next month (mid March), so hopefully I can post some screen shots and pics of the projects soon..

But to writing.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Asus Tinkerboard, a new dawn for SBC's?

Sorry to have been quiet for so long, been both working on the book and recovering from illness which in turn caused delay in the book, which in turn meant trying to catch up on the work....I'm falling very behind and have had a few extensions to my deadline but am doing my very best to get back into the groove again.

But I had to post something about this beast

This ordinary looking board may just be the most important new SBC ever released, for 2 important reasons,
1st, its from ASUS, one of the very biggest commercial electronic makers, these guys do everything from full Mother boards to tablets to Video cards...and video cards is kinda interesting.

Their release of an RX3288 power credit card board with a very soft and unheralded launch might mean they are checking out the market.

2nd the use of the RX3288 is in itself interesting, yes its 32bit, but its a very fast 32bit, More than capable of showing a Pi or even an Odroid its clean heels. But it won't be the outright champ, there are a few faster CPU's,
However it is running a Mali 760 series GPU....4 cores.  In theory...that means its capable of running OpenGLES3.2 making it the 1st sub $100 board to be so empowered.

If they are also able to use their experience of video cards to provide full drivers for this board, it will make this the most powerful SBC board available on the market if you are planning to do graphic applications, some of the 64bits will out pace the CPU, but none currently come close to a 760 series GPU.

The launch has been incredibly low key, only 1 supplier in the UK, and sadly they sold out before I could get one. What info I can find so far suggests that they don't really have the software side sorted out, and images are basic, and tellingly lacking in OpenGLES3.2 (or any) drivers....
But I hope that this takes off. If it does we might see all the other makes move up a level in GPU performance and might also see people taking more interest in coding graphically.

I'll let you know when I get my hands on one.

Back to the book

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Orange Pi PC2

An interesting up grade to the Orange Pi PC, which is a nice little board but a hot runner. It is also one of the few clone boards that has a very active community, so this latest release is bound to interest a lot of people.
I ordered mine the day it was annoounced, and it arrived today, no import charges either so all round if this works fine its a bargain of a machine. I am wondering if I have the 1st in The Netherlands....maybe, maybe not
But even if I have, I can't use it at the moment, only the Android img is currently available, so can't really use it for book development, and as the book is very close to being done I don't want to get distracted trying out clone images to see if I can get it to work. I'll install android to see what it does, but back in the box it goes till I'm ready to give it a proper play

Saturday, 5 November 2016

New(?) Boards A10 Lime, OrangePi PC2 and book progress.

Well actually an old board, not one I would normally consider as its a bit outdated but I need to recognize any board that has a following, and among hobbyists and gadget makers this one does

A10-OLinuXino-LIME-4GB - Open Source Hardware Board
This is the OlimexA10 OlinuXino Lime -4G, though I didn't know it was a 4G when I bought it for 19quid on Ebay from a UK supplier who gave free postage, as well as a case for 5quid. Olimex themselves price this at 40euros and 7euros for the case, on their website with silly postage so quite a bargain.

The 4G means it has 4Gb of NAND memory on board which was not stated in the listing, and lo and behold when I fired it up without an SD card, it booted into Android, though its a Chinese version of Android and I can't really get it to update, but not too worried as I'll be trashing that soon. I must say I was quite impressed. Its only a 1Gz A10 (cortex A8) single core, Mali 400MP1 unit but it is one of the faster single cores and it runs Android fine.

I've only just finished downloading the Debian image, so no idea yet how it will do with that but on paper it seems to be a wee bit faster than A Raspberry Model  B+ and half the price on ebay. Nothing really to complain about.

I'll get it working in a day or 2, I'm just trying to finish up my explanation of 3D maths in the book so that the games make sense and can be fiddled with by the readers.

Also ordered this week, for $25, yes $25...including p&p!! Was a new Orange Pi PC2, which is hot off the press, a 64bit beast with a 6core Mali 450. Now this is potentially a mega machine, though I do find the Orange Pi range to be a bit hit an miss quality wise, a 64bit quad core,probably  running at 1.6Ghz (but not actually sure) with 6 core
Should be here any day now, I hope it works, though I have fund when clone makers produce a 64bit machine the 1st few iterations of the OS are beyond bad, so it might be a few months before this is actually usable.

The Arrow board, arrived last week too but I'm struggling with power on it, Even a multi volt unit I bought turned out not to have the ampage needed at 12v, so have ordered a better power unit which will be here in a day or so.

I dunno how much time I'll get to play with them though I really am on a home straight with the book and want to get 750 pages by the end of this week. I'm on 683 at the moment and about to paste in a lot of code snippets.  Aside from the section on Physics which is still only an outline, I'm struggling now with what more I can add, so its looking very complete, but a bit messy. hoping to start editing it down in 2 weeks.

Monday, 31 October 2016

666 pages and it's halloween

Not that I am reading much into it.

Continuing the good progress, model loading and sound now done...really feel like I'm on the final push and writing a page here or there every spare moment I get.

Projects are still far more basic than I'd like but I must try to remember they are basic for a reason, so the readers can build them up.

Right, going to try and do 4 more pages on the subject of 3D collision....oh that'll at least 20 pages.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

ok it was the bend before the bend

But progress has been great this last few days. Projects are all takiing shape really well and the sense that they are cool and playable is very palpable..though I need some more graphics from my art friends

The text for the book is pretty much  all there now. I'm really pleased with it... probably only another 50-60 pages to go of actual explinations, then another 50-60 of code snippets and I can make a start to edit it down.


Hardest thing so far has been the texture and shader managers...trying to get them to be so simple that they work with no frills at all, was a major pain. In fact making the code so simple has been really hard work...I want so many features in there but it juse causes confusion.

But its done, and that was kinda the last bit of pushing the rock up the hill, everything else is now pretty smooth sailing and just explaing very simple game concepts that can be built on.

hhmmm maybe I shouldn't jinx it.

On the horizon though I have to do the compatible projects, make sure that everything works on the various clones...the graphic class set up is easy enough but the physical time to plug them in and try them...its at least a day or 2 assuming they all work, which is optomistic, which is why its been left to the end. I haven't been able to work out how to get an EGL context as a full screen on the clones, but no matter if it can't be done, I'll let them work in a window.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Home straight

Well at least the bend before the home straight,  or maybe the bend before the bend before the home straight.
But whatever I am on a roll. I currently have a week off and am forcing myself to sit for 8 hours and write and code the book and its projects. I'm still worried about the time takes to do the projects but they are moving forward and I have to curb my natural obsession with making a complete game. These are not complete games, they are demo's to show points.. All I have to do is make them playable, and let the reader/student finish or add to it.

I got stuck for such on long time on 590ish pages, but finally cracked 600 over the weekend. And did another 15 today. I'm hoping the addition of the how too walk through this week will take it over 700 and next week, the final 50-100 pages before I start to edit down and then can move towards producing the final versions and sending out test copies to some poor volunteers.

My deadline is at the end of November...its still going to be tight, if something does not go to plan, but its certainly possible.

Ah its fun. I printed it out the other day, and it is huge....I hope its not all bobbins !!!